Today’s Musing is from Marlene McKenna.

Godly sorrow brings repentance that leads to salvation and leaves no regret, but worldly sorrow brings death. —2 Corinthians 7:10 NIV

Anyone who knows me (by this I mean anyone who has seen my closet) would tell you that I am not tidy. Okay, they would tell you I’m pretty messy. For some reason I’m unable to work on a project unless all the inner workings of the project are exposed. When I’m writing I have handwritten notes and several books surrounding my computer; when I cook, I have everything out on the counter; when I get ready in the morning, my bathroom counter is cluttered with makeup, lotion, hair product, jewelry; and my bedroom is usually littered with clothes I am “in the process” of cleaning, putting away, or deciding whether or not to keep.

This way of living has consequences. Sometimes when I come home, I’m overwhelmed by all the “little” messes I’ve made during the week. Dishes, crumbs, papers, books, clothes, oh my! How did this house get so messy? Answer: A little at a time.

Similarly, when we find ourselves in a spiritual mess of our own making, suffering the consequences of a mountain of small rebellions, we too are overwhelmed. How did my heart get so hard? Answer: A little at a time. Surprisingly, the solution to both problems (messy house and messy heart) are the same. How is my house going to get clean? By repentance—turning 180° away from the direction I was going (bigger mess) and going in the opposite direction (putting things in order). How is my heart going to be cleansed? You guessed it—Repentance!

Some people may object to this observation. They say, “I was fully forgiven when I accepted Christ as my Savior,” and that is true. Because of the blood of Jesus we are fully forgiven. We are now family—but we are not suddenly perfect and sin free. We still make “messes.” Just like I fail to clean my messes until I recognize the chaos all around me, we bring our heart messes to God when we recognize they exist and are overwhelmed with grief and godly sorrow that leads to repentance—and we can come to Him, not as an outsider, but as a child to her Father.

David understood this to be true. His “little messes” turned into a mountain of rebellion. (If you’re new to David’s story, read 2 Samuel 11.) Step by messy step, each decision David made in opposition to God caused chaos in his life and the lives of those around him. His heart grew hard and his attitude harsh until Nathan, God’s messenger, confronted David. Only then did he recognize the overwhelming mess. David’s 180° turn away from his sin led him straight into the arms of God, and there David appropriated God’s gift of forgiveness. Through it all, his relationship with the Lord was strengthened and his heart forever changed. What a testimony to God’s faithfulness and redemptive heart toward His children! (You can read the remarkable details of David’s repentance in 2 Samuel 12.)

Psalm 51 was birthed from David’s repentant heart. I’ll leave you with the beautiful reality of our gracious God who longs for intimacy with every one of His “Messy Me’s” as He turns messes into milestones of His grace and intimate love for you and me.

Psalm 51
A psalm of David. When the prophet Nathan came to him after
David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.

1 Have mercy on me, O God,
according to your unfailing love;
according to your great compassion
blot out my transgressions.
2 Wash away all my iniquity
and cleanse me from my sin.

3 For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me.
4 Against you, you only, have I sinned
and done what is evil in your sight;
so you are right in your verdict
and justified when you judge.
5 Surely I was sinful at birth,
sinful from the time my mother conceived me.
6 Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb;
you taught me wisdom in that secret place.

7 Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean;
wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins
and blot out all my iniquity.

10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me from your presence
or take your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation
and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.

13 Then I will teach transgressors your ways,
so that sinners will turn back to you.
14 Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God,
you who are God my Savior,
and my tongue will sing of your righteousness.
15 Open my lips, Lord,
and my mouth will declare your praise.
16 You do not delight in sacrifice, or I would bring it;
you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings.
17 My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart
you, God, will not despise.

18 May it please you to prosper Zion,
to build up the walls of Jerusalem.
19 Then you will delight in the sacrifices of the righteous,
in burnt offerings offered whole;
then bulls will be offered on your altar.

—Psalm 51 NIV

Marlene is a wife, mom, and empty nester. Her passion is writing, but she also enjoys golf, travel, and walks on the beach. She loves teaching a discipleship class and longs for all her sisters-in-the-Lord to find freedom in Christ.

God is gracious,




Sweet Selah Ministries

To inspire a movement away from the belief that “busy is better”
and toward the truth of God’s Word that stillness and knowing
Him matter most—and will be reflected in more effective work and service

To offer biblical resources and retreats that help women pause (Selah)
and love God more deeply as they know Him more intimately (Sweet)

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5 Comments. Leave new

  • Thank you for taking your time and knowledge and offering it to us. I’m so pleased and relieved to have read this today. I can start to
    unclutter my mind and home. You are certainly someone Sharon Gamble would enjoy her time with. You two speak the same

    • Sharon Gamble
      August 9, 2021 12:50 pm

      Joyce – Marlene is a HUGE blessing, isn’t she? And she has truly helped me, her and Donna both, lighten the load as I now only write Musings twice a month. God is so good to bring in more quality writers!!

    • Thank you, Joyce! That’s a compliment!
      I’m glad it encouraged you. ♥️

  • Donna Perkins
    August 10, 2021 9:11 am

    Marlene, I love this post!!!!

  • As God says in Acts 13:22 David will do everything I want him to do. David does, he pines after God’s heart and repents. Life is messy but with God he can clean it up – along with us.


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